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Bond: 'From Civil War to Civil Rights'

Civil Rights leader Julian Bond speaks about racism in America at Reston Community Center's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday celebration.

Civil rights leader Julian Bond says the United States has come a long way since Martin Luther King Jr. was leading the movement. However, even with Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, about to be sworn into his second term in office, it still has a long way to go.

Bond, the keynote speaker at Sunday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration at Reston Community Center, said despite the progress this country has made, there is a backlash that gets more of the attention.

"Black people have struggled to find answers to a series of questions. 'Who or what is the enemy?' 'Who are our friends?' Unlike Italian or Irish Americans, African Americans remain the indigestible alternative. Unlike the others, they refuse to agree to white supremacy. Unlike the others, black ethnic mobilization has also been demeaned as identity politics.

"Somehow, [we remain] democratically illegitimate, while white variants like puritanism, the Confederacy, the Klu Klux Klan, the Tea Party, the Moral Majority and others are just expressions of democratic activism. ... Barack Obama is to the Tea Party as the moon is to werewolves. Those who say race is history have it backward — history is race."

In order to move forward, "we are going to have to accept that America is a racist county," said Bond.

"We are still a country at war with itself," he said. "We have gone from Civil War to Civil Rights."

Bond's speech was part of a weekend of events in Reston to honor Dr. King's legacy. There were service projects and kid-oriented projects; a concert by the Reston Community Orchestra; a commemorative march from Lake Anne Plaza to Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation; and the "Voices of Inspiration" concert.

Other local dignitaries speaking at RCC's 28th annual event included Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, County Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11th).

Chipperson January 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM
"However, even with Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, about to be sworn into his second term in office, it still has a long way to go." Jeeze - really? All I heard In this speech were problems and not one way to solve mythical race issues. I'm tired of saying we are all still racist. How much guilt do I need to walk around with till its ok? And another thing - implying that the tea party is racist - they just don't want a fiscally irresponsible liberal in office no matter their race/religion/ etc. Give me a frigging break Mr Bond.
Awake Sister January 21, 2013 at 07:15 PM
The lack of outcry among our citizens when brown people across the seas are killed by drones is indicative of a problem...what if the innocents killed were Scandinavians? Why are 20 children killed in Newtown worthy of tears while 800 dead little ones in Chicago elicits nothing but apathy?
DGeorge January 21, 2013 at 08:17 PM
And who killed the 800 little ones in Chicago? And why doesn't the African American community rise up and demand that black on black murder be eliminated? Sharpton and Jackson certainly got their face in the paper over Travon Williams but can't be bothered with the carnage in Chicago or Detroit.
Tammi Petrine January 22, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Chipperson and others who feel similarly, If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Of course you don’t want to feel guilty but until black health is equal to white health, you need pebbles in your shoes. I recently attended a minority health seminar and learned that the % of black premature births, diabetes and high blood pressure in the black population far outnumbers white stats. I was not a bit surprised having had frank discussions with my black friends. When a black person encounters ANYONE not black s/he has to determine whether that person is a friend or enemy. What STRESS 24/7/365!!! This is something that I as a white person never have to experience. When I worked at a large construction company some years ago, I met every new black hire with the words “I am safe.” NOT ONE PERSON ever asked me what I meant. That ought to tell you something. I feel so fortunate that I have black family and friends and will die trying to improve their circumstances as I appreciate the seen, unseen and denied obstacles in their lives. Our country has the terrible history of kidnapping and slavery for which to atone. Pebbles ain’t nothing compared to those horrors.
DGeorge January 22, 2013 at 12:18 PM
You say; " I recently attended a minority health seminar and learned that the % of black premature births, diabetes and high blood pressure in the black population far outnumbers white stats." What you didn't say, is was what are the causes of these disparities. Are you saying (incredibly) that these health issues are caused by racism? Maybe, just maybe, diet has some role to play in these issues.
DGeorge January 22, 2013 at 02:34 PM
What do you think would happen in Chicago if a white gang moved in to a black neighborhood and started killing black kids. Do you think the neighborhood would do something about it? Do you think that African Americans from all over the country would descend on that neighborhood and take care of the problem? Of course they would. What stops them from doing the same with the black gangbangers?
Tammi Petrine January 22, 2013 at 07:08 PM
YES, DGeorge, that’s EXACTLY what I am saying: Racism IS the cause of these sad statistics. Diet? DGeorge, ever seen a fat white person? Black folks have no monopoly on obesity! But more importantly, the lack of grocery stores with decent produce in black neighborhoods certainly contributes to diet. If it isn’t available or is too expensive, one can’t eat it. Is that racism? You bet!!! I am interested that you find these facts “incredible”. Racism is alive and well and you, sadly, have proved it. Perhaps you could walk in a black person's moccasins for a day; then you would no doubt 'get it.'
DGeorge January 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM
LOL! Typical, now I'm a racist. Re-read what I posted. You say Black people are obese because of racisim? Now I have heard it all. Alice saw more sanity when she fell into the rabbit hole.
Kathy January 23, 2013 at 03:37 PM
DGeorge doesn't need to walk in an African-American's moccasins for a day, all he needs to do is walk beside him down a street in Alexandria or Richmond. Or even Reston. See what it feels like. Feel what racism feels like. An old friend of mine, a blind African-American poet, came to stay with us for a week. I took him for a walk in the Walker Nature Education Center. A car pulled into the parking lot as we were coming down the path, an elderly couple in the car. I took my friend's arm to keep him from tripping over the edge of the sidewalk and as I did, I looked up and was greeted with a look of rage and hatred from the old woman in the car. That look stopped me dead in my tracks. "What's wrong?" my friend asked. "Watch your step," I said, happy he couldn't see, feel what I was seeing, feeling. It's pathetic that in Reston, fifty years after it was founded as Virginia's first integrated community, an old white grandmother cannot not take a blind African-American man's arm without being confronted with prejudice. We have a long way to go before race hatred is only a memory in this country. And you know we have a long way to go when Americans post jokes on facebook joyous at the thought of the assassination of our African-American president. A long, long way to go. Kathy Kaplan
DGeorge January 23, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Wow! You didn't quite explain what happened.Lets see, an elderly white woman got out of the car and was consumed by hate because an elderly black man was at the Walker nature center. And you could tell this because of her facial expression? You must be an extremely sensitive person Kathy. Either that or you go around indiscriminately calling people racist as you did on the Tall Oaks thread, and had to be admonished. Tammy says that White, Latino and Asian people ( They are generally the ones in the Grocery business) are so consumed by racial prejudice and hate that they refuse sell groceries to African Americans and that is the cause of serious disease and obesity in the African American community. Kathy perhaps you and Tammy should room together and commiserate your fantasies.
DGeorge January 23, 2013 at 04:41 PM
By the way Kathy, are you sure any criticism of Barak is race based? Can't anyone criticize his performance without people of your ilk playing the race card. Those calling for his assassination are no less crazy than those libs during the Bush era. And I might add much less violent, there are always fringes, and the number of people calling for violence against Obama are miniscule compared to those calling for the death of President Bush. You guys even made a movie about killing Bush. Take a look at this clip. Are you one of the people being interviewed? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6b1VOAATNk
Tammi Petrine January 23, 2013 at 05:16 PM
DGeorge, I would be proud to room with Kathy as she gets it. I recommend that you be the one to go back and re-read our posts and do some research about the location of grocery stores (not 7-11's or bodegas) in less affluent inner city neighborhoods. The facts are the facts, sir. There have been numerous articles about this in the papers in the last several years. The District has been working hard to get Wallmart or Costco to locate in neighborhoods to give residents access to affordable, healthy foods. Further, I never cited that "White, Latino and Asian people are so consumed by racial prejudice and hate... blah, blah, blah." What I did say is that STRESS from racism is the source of woeful black health statistics. I stand by that statement. Please stop extrapolating and attributing your erroneous reasoning to me.
DGeorge January 23, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Tammy, you said, "But more importantly, the lack of grocery stores with decent produce in black neighborhoods certainly contributes to diet. If it isn’t available or is too expensive, one can’t eat it. Is that racism? You bet!!! " Now considering that your post is about racism, and African American illnesses are caused by racism and lack of a good diet, partly because there are no grocery stores in their neighborhoods, the logical conclusion is that there are no grocery stores because the purveyors of groceries are racist. If I am misunderstanding you please enlighten me as to why there is a lack of grocery stores . Tammy, the grocery business is run in this country predominately by White, Asian and Latino firms. So, according to you, Grocery stores have not located in Black neighborhoods because of racism. Grocery stores are operated by White, Asian and Latino owners. (Are there any Black owned grocery stores?) Therefor the owners of grocery stores must be racist. Those owners are White, Asian, and Latino.

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